Tiny Awards 2024 shortlist announced, public voting open

24 July 2024

The shortlists for the 2024 Tiny Awards have been published. Now in their second year, the Tiny Awards honour “interesting, small, craft-y internet projects and spaces which basically make the web a more fun place to be.” Think the work of small, and independent creatives.

To be eligible, websites need to be non-commercial, and launched during, or after, June 2023.

Rotating Sandwiches — a website featuring images of rotating sandwiches, go and see for yourself — won the inaugural award in 2023. The 2024 winners — there are two categories, main award, and multiplayer — will be announced on Sunday 18 August 2024.

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Your fixed calorie budget stops weight loss through exercise

23 July 2024

This news, via Kurzgesagt, may not be what some people want to hear. Exercising is useful, necessary in fact, but not so much when it comes to trying to lose weight it seems.

Active people who work out regularly do burn more than inactive people. But only very little, often as low as 100 calories, the equivalent of a single apple. For some strange reason, the amount of calories you burn is pretty much unrelated to your lifestyle. Per kilo of body weight, your body has a fixed calorie budget it wants to burn per day.

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That time Douglas Adams unofficially signed copies of his books in Sydney, Australia

22 July 2024

If you enjoyed the novels of late British author Douglas Adams, you may enjoy this in-depth article about his later life, by Jimmy Maher.

Adams, it seems, did not restrict his particular brand of humour to the written word. A regular customer at a coffee shop I used to go to, told me about an encounter (of a sort) with Adams, in Sydney, Australia, sometime in the late 1990’s. My friend at the coffee shop once worked at a large bookshop in Sydney’s CBD.

He told of the day that Adams — who was presumably in Australia promoting his latest work — arrived at the shop unannounced, and made his way to the sci-fi section. Apparently, his most recent book, plus a selection of others, were on display in a promotional cardboard gondola, similar to what you see on this webpage.

Adams, without saying a word to anyone, pulled a pen from his pocket, and proceeded to sign random copies of his books. Before turning to leave, he scrawled his name across the top of the gondola, and walked out of the shop, again, without saying a word to anyone.

My friend told me how a huddle of bewildered bookshop staff quickly gathered at the gondola, trying to make sense of what had just happened. “Was that him?” was a phrase uttered numerous times apparently. Signed copies of Adams’ novels must have been a windfall for those who bought them…

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LinkedIn, a professional network, or a blogging platform?

19 July 2024

Back in 2008, I had a brief tweet exchange with another Twitter member, about the merits of LinkedIn*. At that point, I was a member, but really didn’t like the platform. I thought having a personal website, showcasing your abilities, was a better idea. #IndieWeb me was thinking — all of sixteen years ago — before the #IndieWeb we know today, was a thing, personal websites were the way to go. I also didn’t like the idea of absorbing my identity into some Borg-like collective.

“But, being on LinkedIn makes networking with likeminded people easier,” replied the Twitter member (in words to that effect). He may have been right. If there were enough likeminded people there, perhaps someone could generate a few leads. But, I don’t know. LinkedIn is LinkedIn. It’s not for everyone. But then again, LinkedIn could almost be considered a blogging platform. All you need do is figure out LinkedIn-speak, which includes talking yourself up, way up, and you’re set.

And it seems you’re quite welcome to go overboard, quite overboard, as Thomas Mitchell, writing for The Sydney Morning Herald, notes:

This obsessive focus on accomplishments has transformed LinkedIn from a platform for managing your professional identity into a platform for managing your professional lies.

Earlier this year, US-based salesman Bryan Shankman went viral after using his recent engagement to talk about sales strategy in a LinkedIn post.

“I proposed to my girlfriend this weekend,” Shankman wrote in the caption before segueing into his business strategy. “Here’s what it taught me about B2B sales!”

Actually, there’s a heck of a lot of blog posts written in the same fashion. So, is LinkedIn a blogging platform? It could be, but you’re unlikely to ever see me reactivating my account, and writing there…

* I downloaded an archive of my then Twitter account a few years ago, before a mass delete and reboot, on the platform. It’s great to sometimes go and look at the long past conversations I had there.

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To find #IndieWeb, more people need to know it exists

18 July 2024

JTR, writing at The Art Of Not Asking Why:

Indie blogs are like good spots in town. Sure, they’re on the map, but you need to ask the locals to point them out. In terms of indie blogs, this means other bloggers.

Word of mouth is sure a great way to spread the news about #IndieWeb blogs, but the problem is, I don’t think #IndieWeb itself is really on the map. You’re really depending on someone in the know, being able to you tell you #IndieWeb exists in the first place, who then directs you accordingly.

If some recent posts I’ve seen on Threads are anything to go by, people seem surprised personal websites and blogs are still a thing. What #IndieWeb really needs is a concerted publicity push. Something akin to Love your Bookshop Day, which we have in Australia, or Record Store Day.

But here’s the thing. There used to be something called Independents Day, but that was over twenty-years ago. I remember Jeffrey Zeldman, for one, writing about it. But imagine it: a day celebrating independent websites, and content producers, long before social networks were a thing.

At the time though, larger, corporate, websites were dominating, and beginning to smother the voice of smaller publishers. In a way, it’s a shame Independents Day didn’t go the distance, because today it would be a well established happening. Still, it’s never too late.

There’s nothing to stop an idea like Independents Day being revived, in one form or another. The goal, initially at least, should be to introduce the concept of #IndieWeb to a wider audience, and then from there, once people are asking about #IndieWeb, we can become the friendly locals pointing out what we consider to be the places of interest.

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Sometimes my personal website looks like a bad photo of me

17 July 2024

Stefan Bohacek writing on his Mastodon page:

The problem with redesigning your personal website is that it looks great for about a week, and then you start to hate it.

This is a problem of the ages. In the late 1990’s I’d redesign my websites (I had several back then) every few weeks. Or what felt like every few weeks. The need to constantly update came from the desire to look as good as the other ever-changing personal sites that were around then.

It was also necessary — you understand — to be up with the absolute latest design trends, and apply our own interpretations and variations of them to our websites.

For instance, does anyone remember, or know of, TV lines? See an example here (not my work). TV lines became de rigueur with fad-like ferocity in late 1999 I think. If you didn’t feature at least a few images with TV lines, you were no longer with the times, you were w-a-y behind them.

The notion that a website should be redesigned about every six months began to emerge, perhaps, in early 2000. The idea being some consistency in appearance was desirable, while not lasting forever. It also, mercifully, gave us time to focus on other things. Non web things, among them.

Today, the design of disassociated has barely changed in years. It’s been in a single column “note pad” format since, I don’t know 2009/2010? The “d” logo came along in around 2013. It changes colour now and then. I call the current inception the “fruit salad” logo. It’s been here for two years.

The overall site design feels a bit bare sometimes, but I like to keep things on the minimal side. Pictures — when I post them — are meant to stand out, and not be swallowed up by the design. Otherwise though, I don’t have much time presently to think about whether I like the look or not. It’s a bit busy elsewhere right now, and writing posts is really my main priority.

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Seventy-five of the best sci-fi books, but I only ever read one

16 July 2024

I might be a fan of science-fiction stories, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek, Star Wars, and the like, but of the seventy-five titles listed by Esquire magazine, on their best sci-fi books of all time, I’ve only read one. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. That’s it.

1984, by George Orwell? No. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley? Ditto. Dune, by Frank Herbert. Same. And I’m pretty sure none of these were required reading at school either. The list of non-reads, of course, goes on. I have seen the film adaptations of a few of them though.

Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel, which ranks at number nine on the Esquire list, is definitely a novel I’d like to read, and is on my TBR list. One day I’ll be able to say I’ve read two of them.

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Webmentions, great for IndieWeb, and, unfortunately, spammers

16 July 2024

Webmentions allow you to notify the publisher of a website that you’ve mentioned, or linked to, one of their pages, from your website or blog. Webmentions are commonly used in the Indie and Small Web communities, and have existed as a W3C recommendation since 2017.

But Webmentions have also come to the attention of spammers, who have made Webmention spam a thing. It means bloggers, such as Jan-Lukas Else, might receive numerous Webmention notifications, only to find they’ve been spammed.

It doesn’t take long, sadly, for a tool designed with useful intent, to be made to serve some other, far more nefarious, purpose.

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Should right to disconnect laws be scrapped because of lazy workers?

15 July 2024

Melbourne based Workplace Relations lawyer Paul O’Halloran, writing for the Sydney Morning Herald, on Australian “right to disconnect” workplace laws that come into effect on Monday 26 August 2024:

Well, laziness is an increasing trend in the cases I defend for employers. Putting aside pandemic lockdowns where all sorts of things other than work were going on in people’s homes during virtual business hours, more recently I have been involved in matters where employees were surreptitiously sleeping on the job; forging time sheets with fabricated work hours; using fake medical certificates to take sickies; or watching Netflix while claiming to be working from home.

There’s still this perception that people working from home are bludging. Doing stuff-all. Watching Netflix all day (or some of the day). No doubt “all sorts of things other than work” take place in a work from home environment, child care duties among them. But is productivity not measured by, you know, productivity? If the required work is being turned in, why begrudge a busy parent for doing a load of washing in the gaps in-between workplace duties? It’s called work-life balance for a reason.

The solution though to this apparent reluctance to work at home, is to get everyone back into the workplace, where an eye can kept on them to ensure they do their “full eight-hour” day. The problem with the full eight-hour day though, is that it doesn’t exist. An American study found workers putting in an eight-hour day, actually did closer to three hours actual work a day.

Three hours? Say what? Much of the eight hour day is lost to web browsing and social media, making food and snacks, calling family, cigarette/vape breaks, and, last but by no means least: looking for another job. All under the watchful eye of workplace handlers. It seems to me then, if you’re putting in a minimum of three hours work, you’re doing well. Bonus points if it’s so-called deep work.

Certainly, there are lazy workers. Those being paid to do eight (would-be) hours work, but sitting in the break-room all day. Or “meetings”. But they’re in the minority, and are eventually weeded out. But leave the work-from-home people alone. Leave them to get on with their work. If it’s at least three hours per day, then there’s nothing to complain about.

If you’ve noticed posting here as slowed down at tad lately, it’s because work (from home) has been flat out. No Netflix and chill here (during work hours). I’m freelance, so the disconnect laws may not quite apply to me (but I do have do-not-disturb). Nonetheless, I am looking forward to some disconnect, and doing a little bit more here soon.

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Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, return for Devil Wears Prada sequel

12 July 2024

Well, this will be something. A sequel is in the works for The Devil Wears Prada. By the time it is released, assuming production starts sooner rather than later, the follow-up will pick-up almost twenty-years after events of the original film. That’s a long time in the fashion world.

So far, Meryl Streep — as Miranda Priestly — and Emily Blunt — as Emily Charlton — have indicated interest in reprising their roles, but Anne Hathaway remains unsure about returning as Andy Sachs. An early outline of the storyline suggests Priestly will face off against a now successful Charlton.

We can only wait to see how Sachs fits into that dynamic, should Hathaway decide to be involved.

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